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Gear List

I’ve had a few requests to do a gear list for some of my recent trips. Since it’s been over a year since the last one, I thought I would acquiesce. What follows is the list from my recent journey to the Goat Rocks. Though that was a short trip, my gear has varied very little on any trip this year. I’ll take warmer clothing earlier (and later) in the year, and of course the amount of food varies based on the length of the trip, but most everything else remains static. This is quite the change from even just a year ago, where it seems like my gear would change drastically from trip to trip! Perhaps I know what I’m doing a little better now.

Some of the gear is light, some of it isn’t. Regular readers know that I always struggle to find a balance between lightweight, functionality, and durability. Certain items that I carry – like, say, the saw – are not likely to be found in the pack of an average backpacker, but are suited to my method of travel. In all, my base weight for this trip was right at 20lbs. I’m not too ashamed of that. In fact, considering that my pack alone weighs 6lbs when empty, that base weight is pretty darn good.

If you have any questions or comments about the items, feel free to get in touch.


  • Kifaru ZXR
  • Kifaru Longhunter Lid
    • Shoulder strap
    • 1 quart ziploc
      • Toilet paper
      • 1 oz Hand sanitizer
    • Emergency fire kit
    • First aid kit
    • Kifaru Ultralight Pullout (small)
      • REI Keychain Thermometer
      • K & M Industries Match Case
      • Croakies Glasses Retention Lanyard
      • Jetstream ballpoint pen
      • Sharpie
      • Highlighter
      • #2 Pencil
      • All-Terrain Lip Armor (SPF 25)
      • 4x safety pins
      • Duct tape (length unknown, .75" diameter roll)
      • StickPic #3
      • Badger Healing Balm
    • Sea to Summit Headnet
    • Petzl Tactikka headlamp
    • Tyvek Stuff Sack
    • Rite in the Rain No. 393-M
    • Large garbage bag
    • 1 quart ziploc
      • 3x Green Trails maps
    • Plastic vial-type container (found on street)
      • 16x cotton balls w/ petroleum jelly
    • Hard glasses case (unknown brand/model)
      • Oakley soft lens cloth bag
      • Julbo Micropores (Rx)
    • Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack (2 liter)

On Body

(I do hope that I haven’t forgotten anything. If you notice anything conspicuously absent, please let me know!)

Outdoor Research Infinite Guarantee

About 3 years ago I bought a Celestial Jacket from Outdoor Research. It’s a very lightweight hardshell made out a 15 denier Gore-Tex Paclite material. When I first got it, I was surprised at how thin it was – paper thin – and had many doubts about the jacket’s durability. But I found myself pleasantly surprised: in the 3 years that I’ve had it, the jacket sustained only one small rip in the lower back area. This was easily patched.

About a month ago, the jacket failed at another point. The hood has an adjustable shock cord going through it behind the brim that helps to frame the face. This channel that the shock cord goes through (made of a lightweight nylon material, not Paclite) ripped out. I had heard of OR’s Infinite Guarantee, which claims that any product can be returned or exchanged “forever”, but had never before used it. I figured there would probably be some sort of catch or fine print, but thought it worth the try.

So today I went into the Outdoor Research Retail Store to see what would happen. I showed them the failure in the jacket and asked if it could be repaired. No, they said, they didn’t think that part of the hood could be fixed and they didn’t make that same jacket anymore, but they could give me credit for it or I could choose to trade it for any jacket in the store. Well then. That was easy.

I spent about an hour going through all of their hardshells. They didn’t have anything equivalent to the 10oz weight of the Celestial Jacket. Their Helium Jacket was even lighter at 6.8oz, but the hood wasn’t very adjustable and the jacket lacked pit zips. Most of the other jackets were ruled out because of being too heavy and not breathable enough. Eventually it came down to the Revel Jacket and the Foray. At 13.7oz the Revel is the lighter of the two but it’s made out of Pertex Shield which I have no experience with. The Foray was heavier at 15.7oz but made out of the same Gore-Tex Paclite as my old jacket – though the Foray uses 40 denier material, so is a good deal thicker and more durable than the old Celestial. I was having trouble deciding if I wanted to get the lighter jacket and risk trying the Pertex material or if I should stick with tried and true Gore-Tex. I already have a Marmot Precip jacket, which at 11.6oz fills the lightweight niche nicely, so I eventually decided to get the slightly beefier Foray jacket.

The guy who was helping me cut off the tag, handed me the new jacket, and I was out the door. In my book that’s a free $200 jacket. It’s refreshing to find a company that stands behind their products 100%. No partial refunds, or limited warranties, or memberships required. After today’s experience, I will certainly be doing more business with Outdoor Research in the future.


And now I find that the Foray Jacket actually weights 13.9oz on my scale. An even better deal!

Gear List

I have refrained from posting gear lists from my travels here mostly out of laziness, but partly because of a fear that they will be taken as absolute. The gear that I pack varies greatly from trip to trip. The type of travel, duration, terrain, and anticipated weather all factor into what I pack. On top of this, I always experiment with different gear and different configurations, seeking the best of both. Thus, my gear will differ even on nearly identical trips.

I should also note that I pack with an eye towards preparedness. That is to say that, for me, the only difference between 3 days and 30 days is the amount of food, and I’m not going to be carrying 30 days worth of food, anyway.

Still, people have expressed interest in what I pack, and I know that I do appreciate it when others whom I respect post their pack lists. So, here is the list from my last trip. The trip was 7 days long, and included about 85 miles of travel on dirt trails, paved roads, and bushwhacking. The route was never what I would call true wilderness or backcountry, meaning that I was always within one days walk of an urban area – and by urban I mean what is probably rural by most standards. The route also took me directly through small towns, which allowed me to restock on food.

I performed the trip over the last week of March. Days got up to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit, with nights around 35. Days were unusually dry (which meant it misted constantly, but didn’t actually rain). During the night, it did rain, but not terribly hard. On the first night, which was at about 1700 feet, it snowed. (The rest of the hike was through valleys and along the coast, so the elevation was well below 1000 feet.) In all, this pack list is a good representation of what I will choose to carry in Winter, not Spring. In the deep, dark of Winter, I will probably carry a few more layers of clothing and switch out some of the lighter garments for heavier ones, but, other than that, this list represents a more-or-less standard pack list for a one week journey in a Cascadian Winter, below elevation.

I do not have a reliable scale, so I cannot weigh my gear. All in all, I’d estimate the pack to be at about 45 lbs.

I’m compiling this list a few days after returning from the trip. I have already unpacked about half the items, so I may have missed something, but the bulk of the gear is certainly here. If you have any questions, or notice any stark absences, feel free to comment. Ideally, I would create a pack list as I’m packing, before the trip. Maybe next time…

The list is subdivided into two sections: what I wore on my body and what I carried in my pack. In the pack section, I decided to separate out what was carried in the lid (called an XTL), which detaches to become a man-purse and so also functions as a sort of escape and evasion bag (or a bail-out bag for the bail-out bag) and the body of the ZXR itself. Otherwise, I have not distinguished between what is carried in the main compartment, the slot pockets, or mounted on the belt. The clothing consists of three main insulating layers: a light wool shirt, a fleece vest, and a lightweight fleece jacket. These three would, of course, alternate between my body and my pack depending on where I was and what I was doing. During most of the hiking, I wore the wool shirt and packed the other two.

Worn On Body

  • Smartwool Hiking socks
  • Smartwool Microweight Boxer Briefs
  • Ibex Woolies long underwear bottoms
  • Patagonia Capilene Level 2 long sleeve tshirt
  • Nemesis Hellion neck knife
  • Atwood Tactical Whistle (worn on paracord around neck)
  • Railriders Versatac Light pants
    • Small bandana
    • Ultimate Survival Technologies Strike Force
    • K & M Industries Matchcase
    • Hair tie
    • Bic lighter
  • The Wilderness Tactical Frequent Flyer belt
    • Bushcraft Northwest BCNW-O1 knife
    • Leatherman Charge ALX
  • Pendleton Western lightweight wool shirt
  • Buff
  • Filson Tin Cloth Packer Hat
  • Lowa Renegade Gore-Tex boots
    • Sole Ed Viesturs Ultra Cushion footbeds

Kifaru ZXR

  • Kifaru XTL
    • Kifaru Standard Chamber Pocket
      • Rite-in-the-Rain notepad (model 393-M)
      • Lens cloth
      • Hair tie
      • Glasses strap
      • Badger Healing Balm
      • Purell Hand Sanitizer
      • Jetstream ballpoint pen
      • Fisher space pen
      • REI titanium spork
      • 2x spare camera batteries
      • REI keychain thermometer
    • Large ziploc
      • Maps (5x)
    • Inova 24/7 with head band
    • Light My Fire Scout Swedish Firesteel and striker
    • Cell phone
    • Possibles pouch (Note: I'm not going to discuss the contents of this here, as I'm rethinking it with an eye toward redesign. In it's current incarnation, the items are housed within a TAD Gear SERE SP pouch, which measures 1" deep x 4" tall x 4" wide. It began as a modified Doug Ritter Pocket Survival Pak that I wanted to mount to my belt, instead of carrying it in a pocket. Many of the items remain the same.)
    • Joby Gorillapod
    • TAD Gear BC-8 pouch
      • Canon Powershot SD1000
    • Fallkniven DC4 sharpening stone
    • Kleenex pocket pack
    • REI Storm Proof matches
    • Maxpedition Rollypolly mini dump pouch
    • Self Aid Kit (Note: I'm also not going to discuss the contents of this here. Suffice for now, it is a small, pocket-sized kit composed of items in two different small aloksaks)
    • Small ziploc bag
    • Ultimate Survival Technologies Wetfire cubes (6x)
    • Garbage bag (8 gallon)
    • Small bandana
    • Platypus collapsible bottle (32 oz)
    • Outdoor Research Celestial Jacket hardshell
    • Integral Designs Sil Poncho/Tarp
  • REI Peak UL Compact carbon fiber trekking poles
  • Blackhawk Hellstorm SOLAG gloves
  • Kershaw folding saw
  • Cambelback 100oz Omega Resevoir
  • MSR Hyperflow water filter
  • Kifaru Paratarp
  • Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 Fast Fly Floor
  • Assorted stakes (12x)
  • Nite-Ize Figure 9 small (4x)
  • 25ft paracord (6x)
  • Kifaru Stuff Sack (small)
    • Kifaru 20 degree Slick bag
  • Outdoor Research Hydrolite Pack Sack #1
    • Thermarest Prolite 4
  • Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack (8 liters)
    • Smartwool Hiking socks (2x)
    • Generic cotton boxer briefs
    • Ex-Officio Boxer Briefs
    • Ibex Outback long sleeve shirt
    • TAD Gear Merino long underwear bottoms
    • REI synthetic towel, 25" x 15.5" (Note: I bought this a number of years ago and I do not know the specific model name. It does not appear to be the "MultiTowel" currently listed on REI's website.)
  • TAD Gear Pathfinder fleece hoodie
  • REI fleece vest (Note: I do not remember the model name and REI no longer sells it. It is made of a light-weight microfleece, with stretchy, spandex-like sides that provide a larger range of movement than a vest of all fleece.)
  • Trail Designs Ti-Tri Titanium Stove System (900ml pot)
  • AntiGravity Gear custom pot cozy
  • Large bandana
  • Food (Note: this was an assortment of trail mix, couscous, a few energy bars, 2 dry miso packets, 2 bullion cubes, a couple freeze dry meals, 2 tea bags of kukicha, 2 bags of green tea, and one chocolate bar. My journey took me through towns every couple days where I could purchase a meal and supplement my stores with fresh food such as bread, cheese, and fruit. All told, I carried roughly 3 days worth of food at a time.)
  • REI Nylon Mesh Storage Sack (10" x 6")
    • Small comb
    • Hair tie
    • Nail brush (Note: used not for nails, but for laundry.)
    • Floss
    • Toothbrush
    • Small tube of toothpaste
    • Ziploc bag
      • Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (Almond castile, 2 fl oz.)
  • Kifaru Standard Chamber Pocket
    • Coghlan's Emergency Tinder (6x)
    • Sharpie
    • Highlighter
    • Pencil
    • Small repair kit
    • Keys
  • Small plastic bag (Note: used for trash)
  • Large contractor garbage bag (Note: this bag is large enough to fit over the whole pack. When traveling internationally, I use these to protect all the straps and webbing on the rucksack from the airport conveyor belts. In the wilderness, it can be used internally as a pack liner, externally as a pack cover, or as an emergency bivy.)
  • Small paperback book (The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant)
  • TAD Gear BC-8 pouch
    • Silva Ranger CL compass
  • Kifaru GPS pouch
    • Garmin Etrex Vista Cx GPS device